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This Town

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Sam wakes up to his alarm going off. He had plans for the day and so he makes himself get up and goes into the bathroom to shower and get started on his day.

He has to finish a commission he has this morning so he can take it to his client. It was simple though, just a painting of this lovely couple. The woman, Nakia, had commissioned for it so she could give it to her boyfriend, T’Challa.

She had sent reference photos and said she wanted the picture to be them in a romantic but powerful state and Sam instantly had an idea.

He used many different colors to make the image popped and he was happy with the results he was getting. He was on the final touches when he remembered her phone. He notices that he has paint on his hands and so he goes to wash and dry them. When he came back into the living room, he picked up his phone and sees he has a message from Steve.

Delivery boy spread that I was at your house. Don't let the town flakes pretend to be your friend and stay away from the jealous nobodies. I'll talk to you tomorrow. I'm sorry.

He's confused for a second and then shrugs and puts his phone down. He emails his client to let her know that he was finished and then sighs. Sam knew people would have something to say and he's fine with that. He goes to the message again and types out a reply.

I knew this would happen but I will take your advice.

Oh and good morning :)

Sam looks at the time and see that it's 10:30 and he knows that Steve is still in his meeting. Apparently, he and his team are in talks with putting a hotel in Chicago, Illinois. He's proud of him and he hopes it pulls through.

"I'm finished," Sam says, looking over the painting one more time. He looked down at himself and sees he has paint on his skin and under his nails. "I need another shower."

He walks into his room and pull out the clothes for his to wear. He decided that after delivering the painting, he would go shopping for shoes. He's been wanting some NIKE slides and some smooth, black vans. Sam stretches one last time and heads into the bathroom.

After his shower, Sam starts moisturizing his body. He's on his legs when his phone starts to ring. Looking at it, Sam smiles when Steve name pops up.

"Hey!" he says, after putting him on speaker.

"Hey Sammy, " Steve voice comes through on the phone. It sounds like he's smiling.

"What's up?" he says.

"I just got out of my meeting," he says, and Sam can hear him getting into his car. "We closed the deal and it's happening."

Sam whoops loudly and says, "I knew you would! I'm so proud of you!!"

"Thanks," he responds, softly.

Sam knows he's probably blushing but he decided not to speak on it.

"We should celebrate," he declares, pulling on his cuban collar shirt.

"Celebrate?" Steve asks, "And where would this celebration be?"

"I could take you out for a drink and then you could meet up with your other friends."

"My other friends?"

"Yes," Sam says, in an obvious tone. "The friends you've been friends with for years."

"Do you not want to join" Steve asks.

"I would love to but I'm not really comfortable with being around them yet."

Steve nods because he can understand that. He knows how he feels about talking to too many people.

"Oh yeah, I get that," he says. "We could just stay in if you want?"

Sam hums because he does want that but he's trying to be more social. It takes time though.

"Yeah," he says, eventually. "We can do that."

Sam has his clothes on now and he’s waited for the painting to dry. He puts the painting in the protective and grabs his keys. The drive should take 30 minutes so he might as well get it done. And besides he already emailed his client while Steve was talking and got the place they would be meeting at.

"Where are you going?" Steve asks, as he hears him shut his door. He's almost home and he can't wait to take a mid-morning nap.

"I'm going to meet my client and give her the painting she commissioned."

"Oh cool," he responds.

"When I get back, I'm going to get some shoes. You can tag along if you want." Sam says, and starts his car.

"Of course," Steve says quickly, and then clears his throat. "Just let me know when you're on your way back."

"Will do Stevie," he replies. They say their goodbyes and hang up.

Steve pulls into his driveway and hops out. He goes to unlock his door and once he's in, he immediately flops on the couch. He's asleep two minutes after laying there.


Steve wakes up to the sound of his phone ringing. Without looking to see who was calling, he answers, "Hello?"

"Are you ready?"

"No," he answers, honestly. "But I will be. I'll meet you at the store."

"I'm going to be at Champs," he replies, and hangs up before he can reply.

Steve laughs at that and gets up from the couch. He stretches and scratches his stomach and then heads towards his bathroom. He passes by a family photo and makes a mental decision to visit them soon.

He takes a quick shower and brushes his teeth and wash his face. He hums to himself as he puts on some lounge clothing. He couldn't wait to see Sam.

Sam is sitting in the car, waiting on Steve. He hasn't been here long so he's just scrolling through pictures on his phone. He hears a soft tap on his window and looks up to see Adrian Smith smiling at him.

"Yes?" Sam asks once he rolled his window down.

"How are you?" Adrian says, still smiling.

"I'm fine," he says, confused as to why Adrian is talking to him. They've never communicated before.

"That's good," Adrian beams. "I have a question to ask."

Sam thinks it's awkward to be talking from inside the window and opens the door to get out. "Okay," Sam replies.

"Can you give my number to Steve?" he asks.


Sam is staring at this dude shockingly and then Steve text comes back to mind.

"Can you give him my number?" he asks again. "You know? Do a guy a favor?"

Sam cannot believe this man. Adrian has never spoken to him but now that Sam’s Steve friend, he wants to be friendly. Hell no.
Sam opens her mouth and then closes it again but continue staring at him.

"Why are you asking me to do that?" he finally asks.

"Because you're his friend right?" Adrian smile starts to slip and Sam scoffs.

"I am his friend," Sam starts, "but I don't feel comfortable doing that."

Adrian gets an annoyed look on his face and Sam already knows he needs to leave.

"Well it doesn't matter what you're comfortable with," Adrian says, with a roll of his eyes. "Just do it."

“Nig-” Sam stops himself then stares at him for a moment before she starts to laugh. He laughs so hard that there are tears in his eyes. Adrian looks at him in confusion and annoyance but Sam just smiles.

"Bye," Sam says simply, and walk around him and head into the store. He hears Adrian muter an insult about him but he chose to ignore that. Walking into the store, he's met with the smell of new shoes.

“Niggas weird,” he mummers to himself.

He does a silent wave to the sales associate and instantly walks over to the slides. He stops in front of the all-black ones and contemplate. He can't decide whether he wants all-black, all-white, or the black and white pair.

Sam hears the door open and he feels eyes on him. Looking up, his face breaks into a smile as Steve walks closer. He doesn't have his glasses on and he's dressed in a simple muscle shirt and shorts. He looks good.

Steve thinks the same as he stops in front of Sam. He has a maroon and white cuban collar shirt with black jeans and rips in them. He's beautiful.

"Hey," he says.

"Hey," he replies, picking up a slide. "Which one?"

They discuss the slides for a couple of minutes until Sam decides that he wants all-black. The sales associate, Loki, comes to get his shoe size and then goes in the back. Neither of them misses the look he gives them.

"So, Adrian Smith tried to make me give you his number," Sam says, sitting on a nearby stool.

"Oh my gosh,"' Steve groans and sits beside him. "He's been trying that for months and I'm not interested. I'm so sorry."

"It's alright," Sam dismisses and grabs the shoe box from Loki when he returns. The shoe fits so he handed the box to Steve and moves to the vans.

"It's not alright," Steve disagrees with a frown. "People might start harassing you and that's not okay."

"Yeah, it's not okay," he says, picking up some brown and white vans. "But it's alright because I don't blame you."

He turns to stare at him and says, "We're friends and I knew this was a possibility."

They stare at one another before Sam signals for the worker, once he's gone Steve sighs.

"So, did your client love your painting?"

"Hell yeah!" Sam says and beams. "She said that her boyfriend is probably going to cry. I asked if I could tell my blog readers and she said it was fine as long as I didn't show them yet."

""That's so great Sammy," Steve bumps his hip against Sam’s and they laugh.

Loki comes back and he tries on the vans. They also fit and so they move to the cash register. Steve offers to pay but Sam shuts that down.

"When are they going to start on your new hotel?" Sam asks once they're out of the store.

"At the beginning of October," Steve replies, with a wide grin. He was so happy.

"I'm proud of you," he says sincerely, and pulls him into a hug. They hug for a minute and Sam was the first one to pull away.

"I plan on traveling soon," he says. He snorts when he realized their cars are parked side by side.

"Where to?" he asks, and watches him sit on the hood of his car.

"California," he responds. "I want to go to LA and visit the LA County Museum of Art and Marciano Art Foundation.

"That sounds fun. When do you plan on going?" Steve asks and subconsciously moves to stand in between his legs.

"The first weekend of next month," he says, "which gives me 3 weeks to plan."

They continue to talk until Sam looks behind him and laughs lowly. Steve turns and sees a few people staring and others pretending not to.

"That's going to be annoying." he says turning back to him.

He hums in agreement and motions for him to move. He jumps down and unlocks his car door.

"You wanna go hang out in private?" he asks.

"Yes," Steve sighs in relief.

"We can go to my house," Sam says before getting into his car and rolling down the window. "I'll cook you food and we can celebrate."

Steve agrees and laughs when he drives off without another word. He ignores the stares and gets into his car as well. As he's driving off, he shakes his head at the towns behavior. "This town," he mumbled to himself before picking up speed.